1. Why wallpaper ? Isn't it easier to paint?
2. What type of wallpaper should I purchase?
3. It's being covered with wallpaper.
Why do I need to do wall prep?
4. Can't I hang over the existing wallpaper ?
Why does the old wallpaper have to be removed?
5.Do I really need to prime?
6.For years, I have primed for wallcovering
with oil based enamel undercoater. My paperhanger
now says this is not a good idea. What gives?
7. I was advised to paint the wall to be papered
with oil base enamel undercoat and then another coat of acrylic
wallcovering primer. Why two coats?
8.This bath took six rolls last time. Why does
it need eight rolls this time?
9. What type of wallpaper should I use in a
bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room?
10. What is a pattern repeat?
11. What is a random, straight across or drop match?
12. How hard is it to take off wallpaper ?
13. What is double cutting? Why do you need to?
14. Why is paper packaged by double roll, but priced by
15. Why is this expensive paper not pre-trimmed?
16.What is a "euro roll" as opposed to an
American or Metric?
17. What is sizing?
18. Why does liner have to be installed before
wallpaper ? Isn't it easier to paint ?
Probably, but a well
done wallpaper job may last 15 to 25 years with a look that you cannot get
from paint. The wallpaper and installation is paid for once, as opposed to
multiple purchases of paint and labor to paint over the same period. People
have wallcovering installed for much the same reason that they drive a
Chrysler or a Cadillac instead of a Yugo.
type of wallpaper should I purchase ?
Here are some
If you are wallpapering in a bathroom with a tub or shower, a kitchen, or
an area that has high traffic or one that will receive wear, you'll have
better luck with a wallcovering that will resist moisture and is washable.
A solid vinyl will be best for these areas, preferably one with a canvas or
scrim backing. In many cases a paper backing may work fine, but the backing
may absorb moisture and begin lifting or delaminating. For other areas of
the house that are less "wet", a wider range of wallcovering will
being covered with wallpaper. Why do I need to do wall prep ?
It is sometimes
assumed that wallcovering will hide discrepancies and flaws in the wall
surface. Not necessarily ! Flaws in the wall surface like nail holes, small
bumps and grit, even texture caused by brushing and rolling paint, can
sometimes show through a layer of wallcovering. Wide open patterns, light
backgrounds and shiny wallcoverings are more likely to show wall surface
I hang over the existing wallpaper? Why does the old wallpaper have to be
removed? Aunt Sadie used to hang over old stuff all the time, and she did
It is almost always a
bad idea to hang wallcovering over a previous layer of wallcovering. A
paper or vinyl may seem to be firmly adhered to the wall, but the addition
of another layer can cause failure. As the new wallcovering dries, it
exerts tension on the first layer that can affect it's adhesive bond.
Prominent seams and irregularities in the previous layer can telegraph
through the new layer. Bubbling of the first layer can also be a problem.
There are cases where
the previous layer is so well bonded to the wall surface that removal is
not practical because of the amount of time and money that would have to be
spent on the removal. If this is the case, repair of irregularities in the
previous surface should take place and then a coat of penetrating sealer
should be applied to seal the repairs and the wallcovering surface.
Aunt Sadie probably
used a paper product that had a higher success rate for multiple layers,
but if you looked closely you would probably have seen some irregularities
showing through from the original layer.
I really need to prime ?
Priming provides a
sound surface that wallcovering will adhere to. Priming will aid immeasurably
when it comes time to remove the wallcovering for redecoration. If you are
sure that your wall surface is sound and adhesive friendly, priming may not
years, I have primed for wallcovering with oil based enamel undercoater. My paperhanger now says this is not a good
idea. What gives ?
For years, oil base
primer was the way to go, but with recent passage of clean air laws,
manufacturers have been forced to change their formulations. Complying with
these VOC laws has changed the properties of the finish surface, so that it
is no longer a reliable adhesion promoting surface.
was advised to paint the wall to be papered with oil base enamel undercoat
and then another coat of acrylic wallcovering primer. Why two coats ?
Some wall surfaces require
a penetrating sealer to soak in and firm up a questionable surface. As
stated before, this paint does not provide a reliable surface for adhesion.
The second coat of acrylic wallcovering primer will promote adhesion and
give you a better chance of success. There have been recent advances in
paint technology that have resulted in a few products that will do both
jobs. This class of water-based penetrating sealers that will promote
surface adhesion to wallcovering include "Draw-Tite"
from Scotch Paint (CA) and "Gardz" from
the Zinsser Company (NJ).
bath took six rolls last time. Why does it need eight rolls this time?
There are several
variables. The pattern repeat and the match will have an effect on the
amount needed. With a different repeat or type of match than last time,
there may be more waste, requiring a greater amount. Different companies
package their product in differently sized rolls. There have been changes
in manufacturing standards in the last few years that have decreased roll sizes.
Needing more rollage than was needed for the same
space a few years ago is becoming very common.
type of wallpaper should I use in a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room?
A solid sheet vinyl
will be best for these areas, preferably one with a canvas or scrim
backing. Paper backing may work fine, but if the backing absorbs moisture,
it may begin lifting or delaminating. For other areas, a wider range of
wallcovering will be acceptable.
is a pattern repeat?
The pattern repeat is the
vertical distance between a design element, say, a yellow daisy, to the
exact same daisy, further down the pattern.
is a random, straight across or drop match?
is the point at the seam where a design element is continued to the
With a random match,
there is no pattern to match
With a straight across
match, each strip is the same as the previous strip.
With a half drop
match, the match point of each strip sits higher or lower than the previous
strip, at the half-way point of the first. Every other strip will be the
With a multiple drop
match several strips will all be different until you reach a point where
the series will repeat itself.
note : The above is
true, assuming that the ceiling and baseboards are level. Sloped ceilings
and baseboards will have different tops and bottoms, but the pattern will
repeat itself consistently across the wall.
hard is it to take off wallpaper ?
wallcovering can range from a cake walk to a frustrating, exasperating
experience. Type of wallcovering, adhesive and prior wall preparation will
be the determining factors. You will most appreciate proper wall
preparation at removal time.
is double cutting? Why do you need to?
Double cutting is a
method used by professional paperhangers to make a seam on the wall rather
than trimming on the table. It is often superior to butting the factory
edges, and with some wallcoverings, commercial vinyls,
for example, it is the prescribed method.
is paper packaged by double roll bolt, but priced by single roll?
A roll is an increment
of wallpaper quantity. A bolt is how it comes to you. Less waste is
incurred if the bolts contain double rolls, that is why single rolls are
rarely sold as singles, there would be too much waste. There is even less
waste with triple or quadruple rolls.
is this expensive paper not pre-trimmed ?
Untrimmed papers are
usually hand printed by the silk screen process. This gives an effect that
cannot be duplicated in machine printing, but the technology is not as
exact as that of machine printing. Machine trimming a hand printed product
will gain or lose pattern because of these tiny inexactitudes, so it is
left to the paperhanger to trim for maximum results. Some other types of
wallcovering are shipped with selvage to protect them in shipping.
is a "euro roll" as opposed to an American or Metric ?
For years, the
standard American roll contained 36 square feet. With the advent of greater
amounts of European goods, a metric increment of measurement arrived. The
metric bolt is 10 meters (33 feet) long and usually about 21 inches wide.
Most American made papers available at retail are gradually changing to
bring the two into line for the sake of standardization.
is sizing ?
referred to a glue like material that was manufactured from animal hooves,
hides and bones. It was used to coat a wall surface prior to wallpaper
installation to even out porosity and provide a better level of adhesion.
Improvements in paint and adhesive chemistry have made size redundant.
Nowadays, the word "size" is often incorrectly used to describe
most anything you put on a wall, prior to wallcovering.
does liner have to be installed before wallcovering?
Liner may be a plain
paper (known in the trade as "blankstock")
that is applied to a wall surface prior to the decorative layer of
wallcovering. It also may be a "bridging type" that seeks to
provide a new surface when the existing surface has voids. The bridging
type is more common, often pure white in color and is often composed of at
least 50% synthetic ingredients such as rayon and polyester. Both types act
as a buffer between the wall and the second layer of wallpaper.
Many wallcoverings are
of a delicate nature and can be damaged in the installation process. A
layer of liner paper (blankstock) will absorb
moisture and adhesive applied to it, easing the installation and lessening
the chance of damage from overworking the finish paper. The use of liner,
whether it is blankstock or a bridging type, will
almost always improve the finished look.
note : Bridging liners
are effective at hiding small indentations, but cannot disguise even small
bumps. They also have little effect on larger indentations or protrusions
that change the contours of the wall.